Who We Are
We are Steve and Jerry and we run the place. We buy, handle, clean, store, and ship the LPs and other merchandise. This store is a reflection of our love of music and vinyl. Through this site, we try to share that with you. We created Wiser Time Records to be more than an just another online source for vinyl. This site is meant to provide you with that classic music in a quality that can only be heard on a clean, crisp vinyl LP. Our goal is to provide you with a great listening experience.
A dirty green couch, a beer barrel and stacks of 45s. No, I’m not just naming random things (I love lamp!)….these are my earliest memories of music. My Dad loved nothing more than going to the basement to listen to music and drink a few beers - in fact, he still does. At 80 years of age he still drinks a few beers each night and listens to his cassettes…. yes, my Dad still makes mix tapes. If I wasn’t busy rebuilding my BMX bike or shooting hockey pucks into a goal drawn on the wall with chalk I’d be sitting on the dirty green couch listening to The Drifters, The Platters or Elvis…just to name a few. The large beer barrel was used as a bar table and the numerous stacks of 45s on the table behind it were arranged in such a way that Dad could find any given record at a moment’s notice. Request a song and he’d know exactly what stack to go to and approximately how far down the record was in the stack. It seems like my Dad’s love of music took hold of me at a young age. My Mom tells a story of having to push my 3-year- old self up to a record bin in a store so that I could flip through the vinyl. At around 8, I started taking trips to the American Czech Hall to attend the St. Louis Record Show with my dad, who was a dealer there for 30 years. Weekends were frequently spent traveling to thrift stores looking for records. I guess I really had no choice but to love music and, more specifically, vinyl. I remember flipping through my sister’s LPs, marveling at the intricate ELO and Journey cover designs and the strange, red velvet cover of the Bee Gees’ album, “Odessa”. I loved reading the liner notes, seeing who thanked whom and which musicians made guest appearances on an album. I was amazed to discover that my copy of Def Leppard’s “Pyromania” had a message engraved in the vinyl: ”IF YOU’RE GONNA BE A BEAR” on one side and “BE A GRIZZLY” on the other. These are some of the cool features that made vinyl so special and why it has become so popular again today. You can’t fully appreciate the great art on a cassette or CD cover and there is nothing tangible about downloading or streaming a song. LPs are works of art that stand the test of time. Picture your favorite album cover - most likely it was from the vinyl era, right?
I’m interrupting this story a la David Alan Coe in “You Never Even Called Me by My Name”. I wanted this post to read well so I did the only thing that made sense to me…I sent it my sister, Laura. She’s pretty smart…and writes REALLY well. She would make this a little more coherent...and more importantly make me sound smarter than I am. After fixing all my errors, she commented on what she thought was great about vinyl and it was too good for me to mess up by trying to put it in my own words. So here it is, vinyl according to Laura:
“…I do think the renewed popularity of vinyl is not just about its sound quality. I think it’s sort of a backlash against the fast, technology-driven pace of modern society. When you listened to an album, it was a commitment. You didn’t just pop it in a slot and press a button. You had to pull it carefully out of the cover, making sure not to scratch it, put it on the turntable and gently place the needle in just the right spot…..and then, once it was playing, it wasn’t so easy to just jump around to different tracks. You really had to slow down and listen to it all. It made music special, something to be experienced. Music today is offered in kind of a “fast food” format, very quick and convenient but, frequently, not all that satisfying. Vinyl is the antidote to that. Listening to an album means you are committing to listening to one band or one singer through many songs. It’s kind of cool and shows a willingness to be patient through the songs you maybe don’t like so much - and then, hopefully, you start to see how all the songs tie together into a theme. You are a fan of an album, not just random songs.”
In college, all I wanted was to open a record\comic book shop, but by the early 90s vinyl was dying and my dream died with it. Then, about 15 years ago, I met Jerry and we bonded over our love of music…and beer (but mostly music…. really). We were co-workers who didn’t become friends until bumping into each other at a Queensryche concert. After that, we spent a few years discussing the possibility of partnering in a business venture, but we wanted the focus to be on something we loved, not just an opportunity to make money. Eventually, an idea started to crystallize: We both loved music and had a great appreciation for vinyl, and suddenly it seemed that lots of other people were realizing how terrific this medium is, too….everything about our idea just made sense. One thing we were lacking was something that would make our records different. And then it hit us, when you buy a used LP in a record store it‘s always dirty and you never know what you’re getting when you buy on eBay. After some research we decided that ultrasonic cleaning was the way to go. Most industry experts agree that this is the best way to clean a used LP…and a great way to clean new LPs too. But the typical collector is not going to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on cleaning equipment. The path was clear at this point, sell only the highest quality clean LPs. This site may be modest now, but we hope to grow over the months and years and maybe, someday, I’ll find that my dream of opening a record shop wasn’t such a crazy idea after all.
I've always loved listening to music. It's tough even now to not have some sort of music on even as background noise no matter what I'm doing. I really started listening to music in the late 70s and was immediately drawn to the Rock and Metal genres. The earliest thing I remember owning is Kiss Alive II on 8-track. Growing up in the early 80's I just couldn't get enough of the onslaught of hair metal bands that were appearing on the scene. It was loud and fun to listen to. I remember buying LPs such as Metal Health, Out Of The Cellar, and Breaking Chains before many of my friends even knew who those bands were. And then when I couldn't get enough, I'd uncover gems from the likes of TNT, Helix, and Y&T. While not as polished and accomplished as bands like Priest, Maiden, and Scorpions (which I of course also had), these hair metal bands were great to listen to and championed a great era of rock music.
For me, buying music always centered around vinyl. There's just something about owning an album on vinyl. There, of course, is a never ending debate of which format produces the best sound but it's really more than that for me. When listening to an LP, you have to be involved with the playback. You can't just turn it on as background music. Nor can you easily skip songs and because of that there was usually very little desire to start a playback anywhere but track one of that side. So, listening to an LP allowed me to experience the whole album and not just certain songs. I got to love many 'deep cuts'. Keep in mind, I was really getting into music just prior to CDs hitting the industry. I had my share of CDs and cassettes but mostly for their portability. I can't tell you how often I bought an LP and then recorded it on a tape or CD so I could take the music with me. And then, and just as important were the album covers. A lot of album covers looked pretty damn cool.
They really are art.
So, it is with that background that I now find myself starting Wiser Time Records with Steve. Steve and I have known each other for quite a long time - long enough to know we share not only similar tastes in music but similar love for and similar beliefs in how it should be listened to. We know that there are many, many places you can go buy LPs. And despite the increasing number of outlets to buy LPs it remains very difficult to buy great sounding copies. Our goal as stated throughout this website is to share all of this with you by offering you the very best conditioned used copies of your favorite LPs. Remember when you first brought home that copy of Pyromania or Mechanical Resonance? It's like that all over again at Wiser Time Records.